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Hack Remote - Issue #7

This week's issue comes to you from a rather rainy San Francisco. The news is dominated by conference

Hack Remote

March 7 · Issue #7 · View online
The week's remote work trends, tips and hacks – curated by Joe Taylor, co-founder at Unmeeting.

This week’s issue comes to you from a rather rainy San Francisco. The news is dominated by conference cancellations, cruise ships and sudden, enforced remote working. And it’s impossible to find hand sanitizer for sale anywhere…

Weekly news shake down

  • The fight against Coronavirus took an interesting turn as a quick computer vision project called Do Not Touch Your Face appeared, monitoring via webcam if you are, well, touching your face.

This week at
We’ve been speaking with lots of team managers recently about their pain points when it comes to managing a remote team. If you’d like to share your own experiences, please drop me a line (
Andy and I have been working on a quick, lightweight way to connect with your team, designed for those people who are new to remote working and find themselves wanting a quick way to jump on video. Keep your eyes out next week when we ship it!

Hack of the week: virtual backgrounds
If you have been told to stay away from the office, chances are you are holding more video calls than previously. But what if your chosen work environment doesn’t project the image you desire? Easy! Follow Akul Penugonda‘s example and use technology to mask your background with something more appealing. I’ve had numerous video calls this week with Akul, each time it looks like he is far from Coronavirusland on a Balinese beach. As a way of providing levity in these cabin fevered times, Akul uses Zoom’s virtual background feature to superimpose himself somewhere else. Aside from some amusing animated artifacting around his hair, the effect is pretty decent. Give it a go!

Interview with a remote team manager: Jan Deruyck
This week we hear from co-founder, Jan Deruyck. His company, Guut is concerned with your health and wellbeing, specifically coaching on what you can do, rather than advising what not to do. Jan is currently surveying cofounders about their approach to remote team wellbeing. If you have 2 mins, please take his short survey.

How many remote workers does Guut have?
Currently, Guut is a small distributed team of 7 people. 3 in Belgium, 2 in Seattle, 2 in London 

Why did you decide that remote is the best thing for Guut?
It happened by accident. We were travelling/researching abroad when we started our company and managed to find really great people in different locations. What Guut does is also very niche and specific, so it’s hard to find a lot of those people in one place. 

How often do people meet up in person?
Our company is very early stage, so the whole team hasn’t met in person yet. We are planning something Q2…

What is the biggest challenge you face as a remote team manager?
Not knowing how everyone is doing, not being able to help immediately when things go south, and definitely managing the various timezones.  

What’s the secret to a happy distributed team?
Very clear communication and radical transparency, 

Weekly deep dive
Here’s a great article from Bree Caggiati at ShieldGEO about the suitability of remote work for employees early in their careers. It’s easy to assume to that remote working is suitable for everybody, all of the time; but the key to success is balance. Check it out.
Is Remote Work Suited for Early Career Professionals? Is Remote Work Suited for Early Career Professionals?
That’s all for this week. Have a great weekend and remember: do not touch your face.
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